Susan Robinson Fruchtl returns to Loretto as the Saint Francis University Director of Athletics in 2015-16. She returns after serving as the head women's basketball coach at Providence for the last four seasons.
"When Susan left a few years ago, I said, 'wouldn't it be great if you came back some day.' You never know how life will work out, but this is a great day for Saint Francis," said SFU President Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, T.O.R., during her introductory press conference in April.
Prior to her stint with the Friars, Robinson Fruchtl coached the Red Flash from 2007-12. Her 74 career wins are tied for third on the school’s list. During her time at Saint Francis, she led the team to three straight appearances in the NEC Championship game and back-to-back NEC Championships in 2010 and 2011.
In that three-year span, Robinson Fruchtl and the Red Flash were 54-44 with a 36-18 record in NEC play. The team won eight of nine NEC Tournament games in that time. She was also named the 2011 NEC Coach of the Year. In her second act with the Red Flash, Robinson Fruchtl will look to expand her vision from a single program into an ever-expanding department of athletics.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity and when the opportunity became available, there was no way I could turn that down," she said. "This is a place I love and want to help."
Prior to her arrival in Loretto, Robinson Fruchtl spent three consecutive seasons on Rene Portland’s staff at Penn State University, and her eighth season overall with the Lady Lions. The 1992 Penn State graduate helped guide her alma mater to a composite 161-83 record (.660) including four 20-win seasons.
A former All-American and PSU’s only recipient of the Wade Trophy, which is presented annually to the best women's college basketball player in NCAA Division I, Robinson Fruchtl rejoined the Penn State staff in May of 2004 after serving as an assistant from 1993 to 1998. During her time in Happy Valley she worked primarily with post players as well as assisting in recruiting. It was under her guidance that former Lady Lion Amanda Brown developed into a third-round selection in the 2007 WNBA draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.
After leaving the Lady Lions in 1998, Robinson Fruchtl enrolled at Slippery Rock University to pursue her Master's Degree in Secondary Guidance. During that time she served as a volunteer assistant from 1998-2000 for the North Allegheny girl's basketball team. Robinson Fruchtl also has a Master's in Higher Education, which she earned from PSU in 1998.
In June of 2000 she took over as the head girl's basketball coach at Beaver Area High School, where she also worked as one of the school's guidance counselors. She helped revive the basketball program, and led the Lady Cats to the PIAA Class AAA Playoffs in each of her final two seasons.
Then known as Susan Robinson, she graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in exercise and sports science in 1992 and was married to Tony Fruchtl in 1997. Robinson Fruchtl is one of only two players in Lady Lion history to accumulate 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds and was the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,253 points until her record was broken in 2004.
In 1992, the same season she won the Wade Trophy, she was named a consensus All-American and earned GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American honors. As a rookie in 1989, she won Atlantic 10 Freshman-of-the-Year honors. Twice she was named to the All-Atlantic 10 Conference team, and in 1991, she was chosen as the conference Player of the Year. The Center Point, W.Va. native served as captain of the 1990-91 PSU squad that compiled a 29-2 record and a No. 1 National ranking in the final AP poll of the regular season.
In 1990 Robinson Fruchtl was a member of the Junior National Team, and also played for the U.S. Select team that toured Europe. Following her collegiate career she played professionally for one season in Japan.